To earn a spot on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher list, an instructor must have at least 10 years of experience and have been recognized as one of the finest golf professionals in his or her area. So it's safe to say that after spending thousands of hours watching golfers try to improve, they know a thing or two about golf equipment and getting the most out of it. We asked a group of Top 100 Teachers two simple questions. Their answers, listed below, offer sage advice and smart tips.
1. You know you are working with a good club fitter if ___________.
… He or she is "certified" by at least one manufacturer; has a minimum of one club-fitting cart/system for you to use; blocks off at least an hour for the fitting; and isn't pushing any specific company's products. A good fitter wants to put golf clubs in your hand that are for you. The fitter should also have a computer and software program that provide fitting data, as well as a lot of clubs for you to try either indoors or out.— Steve Bosdosh, The Members' Club at Four Streams, Beallsville, Md.
… He or she is a qualified golf instructor. True club fitting is a combination of club fitting and golf instruction. You cannot be a good fitter if you don't know anything about the golf swing.— Brad Redding, The Resort Club at Grande Dunes, Grande Dunes, S.C.
… He or she has the proper fitting carts and uses tools like launch monitors, lie-angle tape and boards and face tape. The fitter should be able to provide you with different clubs to demo to determine the best ball flight for you. — Carol Preisinger, Kiawah Island Club Golf Academy, Kiawah Island, S.C.
… He understands that the client's ball-flight needs are the most important factor. Too often the flight of the ball (too high, too low, spin, left, right) is not taken into account. The fitter reacts to what he sees on a lie board, or to what a computer program indicates about ball speed and launch angle. Since lie angle greatly affects whether shots go right, left, high or low, only golfers who hit the ball straight at their target need a perfect lie-board fit. Players who cannot hit consistently at the target should have a lie angle that is either more upright (to cure the right and low shot) or flatter (to cure the left or high shot) than the lie board might indicate. — Jim Hardy, Jacobson/Hardy Golf, Houston, Texas
… He or she should watch you hit a few shots and take the time to talk with you about your game, your normal ball flight, whether you are right- or left-hand dominant. The fitter should measure your height, and the distance from your wrists to the ground, then check your clubhead speed, carry distance and trajectory to determine the type of shaft and flex that will best suit you. The fitter should also review all 14 clubs in your bag to help you create the best possible set makeup for your game and the courses you play.— Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill Golf Academy, Newport Coast, Calif.
… He fits you according to how solidly you hit the ball and how your ball flight reacts to the equipment he is handing you.— Dr. Jim Suttie, Cog Hill G.C., Lemont, Ill.
… She has the proper equipment and technology necessary to measure your body, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your game. These tools should allow the fitter to quantify results and compare the ball flights of different head and shaft combinations. A qualified fitter would have the inventory necessary to allow you to try and test different manufacturers.— Kellie Stenzel, Atlantic Golf Club, Bridgehampton, N.Y.
2. A warning light should go off in your mind if a club fitter ___________.
… Says he will do the fitting by just watching your ball flight as you hit. Technology has come too far not to use it when trying to find the best equipment. You also need a software program to accurately read launch angle, ball speed and ball spin. — Steve Bosdosh, The Members' Club at Four Streams, Beallsville, Md.
… Claims to be just a club fitter. The person may know a lot about clubs, and how to build them, but not much about the golf swing. This is especially true with putter fitting. — Brad Redding, The Resort Club at Grande Dunes, Grande Dunes, S.C.
… Does not take your body structure into consideration and the "fitting" only takes a few minutes. If all the fitter asks are a few questions like, "What do you shoot" and "Are you looking for a great game-improvement club" before handing you clubs to try, then you are probably in the wrong place.— Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill Golf Academy, Newport Coast, Calif.
… Doesn't use today's technology to quantify exactly what you need, and tries to change your swing before you get fit.— Carol Preisinger, Kiawah Island Club Golf Academy, Kiawah Island, S.C.
… Puts you immediately into an upright lie just to get your ball to go to the left.— Dr. Jim Suttie, Cog Hill G.C., Lemont, Ill.
… Seems to fit everyone into the same equipment, regardless of individual physical makeup or the style of a player's game.— Kellie Stenzel, Atlantic Golf Club, Bridgehampton, N.Y.